Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)
My Lost Siren
Sometimes she walked and her sodden robes trailed behind erasing her footprints, and sometimes, like today, she ran. Sometimes her hair flew out behind like spray from angry waves, and her feet splashed as she sprinted across wet sand, and urgency rang out in her echoing sobs. Sometimes she stood, like a pillar, staring, with eyes already laden with salt, and I watched, my own eyes brimming with briny tears caused by wind and sorrow.
Today she arrived with dawn’s breeze and fear caught in her throat. Her skirts billowed and she ran. The wind lifted her tears from her cheeks, swirling them like tiny pieces of sea-glass, before dropping them into the glittering waves. She ran, blinded by tears and the glistening sun, until the ocean wept at her feet. There she stopped to catch her breath. Her toes sank into sand and icy ocean swells licked her ankles, and I reached out my hand. Noisy sobs echoed across the bay, and I yearned to take her in my embrace.
But I sank back as hooves rang out, and an ebony stallion charged across the beach.
She fell to her knees, her face in her hands and she sang to me like a lost Siren.
The horse halted beside her and its rider slid off, his boots splashing into the sea, and he grasped her arm lifting her to her unsteady feet. Waves crashed and his horse stomped and whinnied, and I clenched my fists. His fingers tightened around her fragile, purple-ringed wrists and her shoulders shook in his hold.
I felt tension build, and anger roil.
His words spat into her face like surf whipping off a wave and she fought to pull away. His black steed neighed and churned the sand in agitation, and he tried to swing her up onto his horse. She baulked, resisted, and his hand stung her cheek, and as her head swung back and an anguished cry carried on the wind, I rose.
Her wretched Siren song of misery carried across the waves and there was no holding me back.
I whipped up my army and my white horses galloped forward, crashing and dancing, and tossing their bleached manes and tails. As we advanced, his ebony charger reared and knocked him to the ground, before screaming and circling in retreat.
Nursing his bruised ego more than his winded chest, he held onto his prize and ignored her cries of protest and fear. Waves rolled over the couple and I rushed closer, my white horses carrying me on. His fingers held tight as water drenched them both, until he finally threw her aside as he struggled to prevail.
My horses thundered into him, rolling across his body and dragging him back into the pitching surf. They showed no mercy and, as he writhed and grappled with the ocean, my breakers thrashed and tore his breath from his worthless throat. They pummelled and pounded until he lie broken in death beneath the waves…and I turned to her.
She knelt at the shore, her hair falling in soaked strands about her face, and her tears falling into my salty embrace. She raised her head and gazed at me, her lips glistening in early morning sun. She sang…and the Siren, who could not win against him, sang to me. The girl who could not beat her human nemesis sang and calmed an ocean, and I, Poseidon, knew I would watch her forever.